Thursday, 8 December 2011

Art Critique... Apocalypse Manchester

So, the BBC have done their usual and brought attention to something not very good... They're pictures created by an artist of Manchester in post apocalyptic style... personally I believe Manchester would be fully populated and a hub of any enterprises remaining after any apocalypse.  The people might have an extra finger from radiation, or they might not be able to get full signal on their iPhones, but they'd be there...

So, looking at these images had me a bit skewed towards the, not very good opinion straight off.  Looking at the detail in them though, I was impressed, the inner seven year old inside was like "whoa this is a great picture, look at all the detail"... then I realised all I was looking at was the detail, the amount of things the artist has flung shit at and scratched down walls...

Then I started to look with my thirty year old mind... and I came to the conclusion the art isn't very good... it looks like someone has snapped a picture on a decent high-res digital camera and then spent a good few days dirtying the pictures in Photoshop... the effect of decay is just taking walls and structures and scratching them away, best exemplified in the picture of the big wheel, if that structure had lost that segment, the weight of the upper standing arc would have pushed it down and collapsed it.

The railway viaducts, made of bricks, scratched away... bricks don't scratch away to leave brittle stagalmite like structures, they break off... well like bricks, and scatter... even in a nuclear blast.  And they don't erode like portrayed, they round and the pointing fails and they fall out as oblong whittled blocks, not splinters.

This simple relation between what is portrayed and what real-life presents is very stark in the images, the images clearly are not trying to convey real situations of decay or desolation, but instead a stylised one.  They are effectively abstract art, meeting modern art.  But with the artist clearly not wielding an eye for reality is this art?

The Jackson Pollock brigade clear would say yes, I myself however am more dubious... its fine photoshop work, worthy of any game developer out there, but I don't think its art in the "hang on the wall sense" its less in the art category from that perspective than a Pollock, and I think they're pretty off the scale of art in themselves.

But above my critique, why has the BBC brought attention to it... I wonder if the poster at the Beeb has let their seven year old mind run away with them going "WOW" before their adult brain went "ah, not actually that good".

So, in summary, massive detail does not define good art, and if you're going to aim for detail, make it realistic, make it stun even after the second glance.

No comments:

Post a Comment